Message of Chairman

Dr. Nasim Ashraf, Chairman PHDF:


The dismal state of human development indicators of Pakistan needs urgent attention and calls for an emergency, especially, in the areas of education and health. In July 2002, my friends, Pakistanis living in Pakistan and abroad, along with some friends of Pakistan from other countries of the world joined me to work together to address this situation. The objective of the founders of Pakistan Human Development Fund (PHDF) was to help the Government of Pakistan improve the service delivery of its education and health departments. This approach would not only give scale to the support that PHDF wanted to extend but would also ensure sustainability as the improvements brought about would become part of regular systems and procedures. A dedicated team of Pakistani expatriates worked for six months voluntarily and conducted analysis of the situation by meeting stakeholders all over the country. The findings of this study shaped our course of action. A report was presented to the Government of Pakistan and in complete recognition of the report, the Government of Pakistan stepped forward to join hands with this dedicated group of directors of PHDF, all of whom had personally contributed US $ 100,000 each, for this noble cause. National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) was formed and thus a unique public-private partnership was developed. Through a tri-partite agreement between United National Development Program (UNDP), Government of Pakistan and PHDF-NCHD, UNDP committed to extend full support to this initiative. PHDF, in this unique public-partnership was given the role of custodian of funds, approval of the annual plan and budget of NCHD and provision of funds after completion of a due diligence process. Thus, the private sector has been given the role of oversight of a public sector organization’s performance. The model produced very promising results. The achievements in a short period of six years are unprecedented. Today PHDF and NCHD have presence in 134 districts of Pakistan. It is a platform available to all those of who want to bring a meaningful change in human development situation of Pakistan. It can be done, provided we work with the same zeal and commitment with which this initiative was taken by its founders. Social change is possible in Pakistan, but it will come through empowerment at grass roots! The biggest equalizer is education! May Allah bless PHDF and NCHD.

Mr. Farrokh K. Captain, former Chairman PHDF:

Mr. Farrokh K. Captain

It is my privilege to be the Founder Chairman of the Pakistan Human Development Fund (PHDF). This was the movement to start a major initiative for the National Commission for Human Development in Pakistan (NCHD) in Pakistan. Spearheaded by Dr. Nasim Ashraf, the early partners were Dr. Musadik Malik and myself. We were joined by other distinguished Board Members, who together contributed $2.5 million of seed money to the PHDF.

The goal was to help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by supporting the Government of Pakistan in improving its service delivery in education and health, to raise funds and to provide private sector support and guidance. At the launching of this public-partnership in July 2002, Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi very aptly called this initiative “Pehla Qadam” (the first step) which then became the slogan of NCHD and PHDF.

As the Founder Chairman of PHDF I lead this organization for 10 years. During this time I have tried to contribute whatever I could. We held large fund raising events in Pakistan and abroad in which PHDF raised millions of dollars for the cause of human development in Pakistan. Amongst these, two fund raising events were held in Islamabad including a telethon in which donations were received through live calls by the President of Pakistan. Another was a dinner hosted by the President of Pakistan. These events helped raise substantial funds for the education and health programs of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD).

There were also difficult times to navigate. On two separate occasions the existence of NCHD was severely challenged. On both occasions, it was my responsibility to stabilize and to successfully steer the organization out of danger, and put it back on course. One of these occasions required the intervention of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which ultimately ordered the continuation and promotion of the work of the NCHD. I am proud that as Chairman of PHDF, I lead these efforts to a stage where we were able to bring NCHD out of these crisis.

PHDF now has a new Chairperson, Ms.Nadira Panjwani who is an extremely capable and committed person. I am sure that she will be able to take this organization to new heights. May God be with all of us, especially for the underserved people of Pakistan, in this noble endeavor.

Ms. Nadira Panjwani, Former Chairperson PHDF:


Education plays a central role in the human capital formation of a nation and provides the basis for its socio economic progress. The consistent failure of successive governments in Pakistan to address this basic need is the root cause of our decline.

Pakistan is the 6th largest country of the world with a burgeoning population of nearly 190 million. 65% of the population is under the age of 25 and adult literacy is around 55%. Among the 189 countries of the world, Pakistan ranks 145th on the United Nations Human Development Index. We have dismally failed to exit from our vicious cycle of poverty and misery.

The many initiatives undertaken by concerned citizens and philanthropists in the field of education provide some respite in this bleak scenario but fall short of attaining the required scale and impact for a meaningful turnaround.

In 2002, a group of likeminded Pakistanis got together with the objective of seeking solutions for the systemic flaws in the mechanism of education and its delivery in Pakistan. Their deliberations led to the establishment of a Public- Private partnership that created a role for the private sector to contribute its expertise, diligence and resources to this cause through a well laid out framework. The Pakistan Human Development Fund and its sister organization, the National Commission for Human Development were established in 2002, one representing the private sector and the other the public sector. Both organizations acted as catalytic bodies introducing innovative interventions for attaining the Millennium Development Goals. This unique model achieved outstanding results winning support and acclaim at the national and international level.

Pakistan has been facing unprecedented challenges over the last few years and all spheres of public life have suffered in equal measures. Unfortunately we were unable to sustain the momentum of our achievements after 2008 due to endless existential, political and financial problems that came our way. With faith in Allah (s.w.t) and the unwavering support of the PHDF family we stood our ground and prevailed in our mission. We continue to remain firm in our resolve to play our humble role in the development of Pakistan and look forward to more support and cooperation from all stakeholders in the future of our beloved homeland.


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